Book 1 of the Special Investigations series
Akron, Ohio. Maybe not the center of the universe, but hey, how many cities can say their sewers blew up? Without any terrorist involvement. Or magic.
My family moved there the summer of that notorious event. Having never seen steam sewers, it took me a couple of years to realize the smoke coming from the manhole covers wasn’t a result of the explosion, nor was it a portent of another such catastrophe. What can I say? I was only six.
My brothers, all five of them, started their own business, and my best friend Rand and I spent summers when we were teens helping out. It was a security/private investigations firm. A really good one. Especially since they had an edge, what with our family heritage and all. But nobody talks about the supernatural, not if they want to live.
Rand and I went to college together and graduated with two-year degrees in criminal justice, having taken courses in private investigation as well. We got our own licenses a year later. As well as licenses to carry concealed.
My brothers asked us to open up a branch office in the Montrose area, and Rand and I debated this, but finally decided to head out on our own and open up our office in the Medina area. Our ultimate goal was to handle mostly supernatural affairs. There weren’t many agencies around the country set to deal with that sector of the population. My brothers’ company was one. Don’t get me wrong; it probably would have worked out great working for my brothers, as they had more business than they could handle and a reputation that was known across the country. But Rand and I preferred a quieter, less demanding lifestyle. So, six months after we’d been licensed, we hung our shingle out on a converted farmhouse on the eastern edge of Medina.
McIntyre and Coventry, Private Investigations.
The house was a huge L-shaped affair. The front half of the main floor we used for the business while the rest of the house was reserved as a private residence. The detached six-car garage had an in-law suite located over it, which suited us just fine, since Rand and I chose to live onsite to save additional money.
Rand took the in-law suite.
I’d like to say that Rand and I had a personal as well as a professional future together, but I can’t. I’ve known him since I was six and he was eight. The first week I knew Rand we showed each other our privates. His idea. We even touched each other. Good thing my brothers never found out about it. The next time I saw Rand’s cock, I was thirteen and he was fifteen. It looked a lot bigger that time. It was our first brief, embarrassing foray into the mysteries of sex. He knew, technically, what we were supposed to be doing. In reality, we fumbled around a lot, kissed, and put our clothes back on.
For the next few years, I never really thought much about Rand being a guy. I know that sounds funny, but Rand was my closest friend. We spent all of our free time together. Then, when I was sixteen, he suggested he take my virginity, because it’s such an awkward situation for most girls, and he thought he could spare me that. It seemed like a sound idea. So he stole a bottle of vodka from his parents’ cupboard and we snuck away to the field beside the school one night during a football game. I think we both had a lot of fun. I know we laughed a lot. Unfortunately, we didn’t use contraception. Fortunately, it didn’t matter. Surprisingly, it didn’t change our relationship one bit.
I’m older now; I’ve had plenty of my own lovers. Well, I’ve had a few of my own lovers. But I haven’t yet run into Mr. Right.
What about Rand? He did grow up to be my ultimate ideal man. Tall, with broad shoulders and narrow hips, wavy dark brown hair, and brilliant green eyes. He could and did exude danger, protectiveness, possessiveness, compassion, and sex. He’s half-werewolf, with the strength and power to prove it. He has a wicked sense of humor, and an almost photographic memory. He’s also got the best ass I’ve ever seen on a man. He’s got the biggest cock, too.
The only problem is, he’s never even shown the tiniest bit of interest in me. Not since he took my virginity. Other women, yes. Too Goddamn many of them. But me? I’m not sure he even remembers that I’m female. At least I didn’t think he remembered.
Anyway, we’ve been operating for about two years now, and we’re already in the black. I suspect my brothers of sending business our way, but who am I to complain?
The only complaints I’ve got are in the man department. I don’t seem to be very good at long-term relationships. Most guys don’t like the risks I take with my job. I’m not really the one-night stand kind of girl, but I can’t go without the sex. So I find myself in a vicious cycle of doomed relationships.
On this particular April morning, I was looking at two potential bed partners, and feeling very good about my life.
If I’d just known then…
“McIntyre and Coventry.” I answered the phone while I poured myself a cup of coffee.
“Of course, we handle missing persons.” I listened while I added a dash of cream to the mug and headed back into the office area.
“I have an opening at two o’clock this afternoon, if that’s convenient for you.” I prefer not to answer the phone. Rand is much better with people than I am. People tend to piss me off. Rand, however, had yet to make an appearance at the office.
Late night, no doubt.
“We’ll see you then.” I hung up the phone and glanced over at Rand’s desk. Jerk.
I opened the folder that was centered on my blotter. It was a case we’d gotten a few days ago. Suspected infidelity. The husband had come to us this time, and wanted us to check on his wife for him.
I found her work information, called and asked for her, then hung up when she answered. I checked to see when she’d be getting off of work, and what days her husband suspected her of playing around. Today would be a good day to follow her.
After gathering up the necessary equipment for a surveillance and piling it on my desk I checked the clock again. Nine a.m. and still no sign of my partner.
What was I getting so worked up for? So he was lolling in bed with some slut he’d picked up last night. He seemed to do that most every night. I swear, he must walk around with a perpetual hard-on.
Okay, I was pissed. I was pissed because he was late. I was pissed because he obviously didn’t take our business as seriously as I did. I was not pissed that he wasn’t lolling in bed with me.
Nine-thirty rolled around and he finally strolled in, hair wet from his shower. I was on the phone, again, so all I could do was give him the eye.
He grinned at me, looking like sin itself. Asshole.
I made a promise to myself to find some guy tonight and return the favor tomorrow morning.
I scheduled an appointment with the woman on the phone and hung up, then swiveled my chair around to face my partner. “Working late last night?” I knew he hadn’t been.
“You should try it sometime.” A slow grin curved the sides of his mouth. “Maybe you wouldn’t be in such a bitchy mood then.”
“Huh!” I grabbed our scheduling book, and rolled my chair over to his desk. I plopped the book down in front of him and pointed at the first entry. “Guess it escaped your mind that you have a meeting with Kender and Task at ten o’clock.”
I felt a small amount of satisfaction when he grimaced at the entry. He ran his hands through his hair, scrubbed his face, then heaved himself out of his chair.
“Shit.” He started for the door, turned around and came back to his desk. He glared at me while he grabbed his folder and cell phone, then turned again for the door.
“Anything else I should know about before I head out?” He paused with his hand on the doorknob.
“We’ve got a full day, so don’t entertain your ten o’clock too much.” I knew some of his meetings had gone well into the night as he “entertained” a new client.
“Great.” He slipped his sunglasses on and shot me a half-grin on his way out the door.
I checked out his ass while he walked across the parking lot. I considered that one of the perks of my job, and I took advantage of it as often as I could. The man had the best ass I’d ever seen. I was pretty sure I would never see a finer one, even if I went looking for it.
The door opened again, and a woman entered, her attention focused on the lot. No doubt about it, she was checking out Rand’s ass too.
She finally turned my way, and I had a moment to study her while she got a grip on herself.
I figured she was in her mid-twenties, slender in that hereditary way, not the workout way. Her clothes were quality, but not designer. She moved with a grace that said she might have grown up with money, more money than she’d obviously been living with for a while now. Beyond that, there was the muted glow of magic. Not something preternatural outright, but someone on her family tree had been.
She shoved her straight blond hair behind her shoulders, and flashed a patently false smile at me. “I have a ten o’clock appointment?”
“I’m assuming you’re Mrs. Franks?” I didn’t bother smiling. I’d seen what I looked like when I plastered a fake one on my face, and it was downright scary.
I motioned towards the chair opposite my desk. She examined it, then lowered herself onto the seat.
“Yes,” she answered.
“I believe you stated that you’re looking for your brother.” I held her folder open in front of me, scanning what little information I’d already gotten from her. “Tell me everything you can about him, Mrs. Franks.”
She crossed her legs at the ankle and placed her hands on top of her knees. Very proper. I wondered if there was something wrong with me that I didn’t have more class.
“I’m sorry, how far back do you want me to go?”
I hated clients that you had to prompt for everything.
“Why don’t we start with a description of your brother, and a picture of him, if you remembered to bring one.”
She nodded, opened a well-worn Prada bag, and withdrew a four-by-six print. I glanced at the picture. Wow. I perked up as she began to describe him.
“He’s twenty-six years old. He’s been working for a private security agency in Akron. He was a Navy Seal. He’s six foot, three inches tall. And, as you can see, has black hair and blue eyes.” She smiled wistfully. “He’s, well, very popular with women.”
I’d just bet he was.
“What agency did he work for?” It couldn’t be that simple.
I’ll be damned. He’d worked for my brothers. “How long had he worked there?” I jotted down her answers while she spoke.
“About three years. He didn’t show up for work last Monday. His employer called me when he’d failed to show up three days in a row, and they hadn’t been able to get a hold of him at his apartment.”
“Is your brother the type to take off like this?” A movement near the leg of my desk caught my eye. It was Jervis, Baxter and Mini’s oldest boy. I motioned at him to stay out of sight.
“Not at all. Our parents died not long after I turned eighteen, and Nick was twenty. He blames himself for not being there for me at that time. He chose to leave the Seals when his four years were up, and came back here to—take care of me. I’d gotten married to Bill by then, though.” She played with a loose thread on her cuff.
“Tell me what he’s like, what does he do with his free time, where does he spend it, and who does he spend it with. Things like that.” Jervis flew up to my lap and started tugging on my shirt for attention.
“He’s confident, maybe a little on the aggressive side. Well, not aggressive, really, but he’s got this—sense—of confidence about him, this sense of danger. He, oh hell, I guess he goes out a lot, I don’t really know. I think he—enjoys—a woman’s company, but he doesn’t get involved with any single woman.” She uncrossed her legs, shifted in her chair.
“As far as I know he rarely has anyone over to his apartment; he always goes to theirs. Whether they’re male or female. He doesn’t seem to have any close friends, but he knows a lot of people.”
“Could you write me up a list of his usual hangouts? The names of any people he spends time with?” I handed her a pad of paper and a pen.
She took them from me and began writing.
“Do you remember who called you from FandS?” I snatched the pixie up in my hand, and closed my fingers tightly around him.
She blinked at me a minute. “Walt? I think that’s what he said.”
“Just keep working on that list for me; also add where he shopped for his groceries, clothes, got his hair cut, things like that. I’ll be right back.”
I went into the kitchen, set Jervis on the counter and got my cell phone out of my pocket. I hit the speed dial for my brother Walt. He answered on the third ring.
“Hey, Walt. I’ve got a Mrs. Franks here looking to hire Rand and me to find her brother Nick. Says he works for you, and that you’re the one who called her when he didn’t show up for work.”
“Hey, cupcake. I’m fine. Your other brothers are fine also. When did you say you were inviting us over for dinner?”
“Never, unless you answer my questions. Then I’ll think about it.” I watched Jervis as he stomped around in a circle, his wings fluttering so fast they were an iridescent blur.
“Nick Demakis. Security specialist. Very good at his job. Can’t tell you what he was working on. Can tell you I was the one who called Mrs. Franks. She let Dave and me into Nick’s apartment to search it. Didn’t find anything that pointed to where Nick might have gone. I do believe his turning up missing at this time is related to what he was working on. It’s possible he just doesn’t want to talk to us right now, but I really think something’s happened to him. I don’t want you getting involved.”
Walt suddenly broke off and muffled his phone, but not before I heard him say something about me—undoubtedly to one of my other brothers.
“What don’t you want me to do?” I asked when he came back on line.
“You heard that? Never mind, since you’re not going to be doing it anyway. Tell Mrs. Franks to save her money. FandS is looking into her brother’s disappearance.”
“Walt. I’m an adult now, I’m a licensed investigator, and I’m licensed to carry. Are you really looking into Nick’s disappearance?” Jervis was hopping up and down now, making faces at me, and I felt like swatting him.
“Yeah, sis. It’s connected with an active case of ours, so stay out of it.”
“Okay.” The wheels were turning in my head. I knew how my brothers worked; there just may be information I could pick up that they might overlook.
“You agreed too quickly. Next time, fight a little, I’ll believe you more.”
“Gotta run, Walt. Thanks for the info.” I flipped my phone shut before he could lecture me any more.
“Okay.” I frowned at the pixie. “What’s so important that you risked discovery to get to me?”
“I didn’t risk nothin’.” He braced his hands on his hips, scowling at me. “The lady out there sparkles.”
That “sparkle” was what pixies saw when they looked at preternaturals. My own talent was a little more refined.
“She might sparkle, but I doubt she even knows about it.” I pointed my finger at him, the digit looking like a battering ram in comparison to his three-inch frame.
“I was just bored.” He looked sullen now, which told me he was skipping out on a chore.
“You know the rule, Jervis. No coming into the office when there is anyone, and I mean anyone, here that Rand and I haven’t specifically introduced you to.”
“No, Jervis.” I cut him off. “Now do you want me to tell your father, or are you going to get busy with whatever task he’s asked you to do?”
He turned his big blue eyes up at me, his golden hair a waterfall of silk down his back to his waist, and he looked like an angel. I knew better, though.
“I’ll go. Just don’t tell dad, okay?”
“I won’t.” I watched as he jumped into the air and turned towards the doggie door I had installed for his family. “Unless you don’t do your chores,” I called as he zipped away.
When I returned to my desk, Mrs. Franks held out three lists. One list comprised everyday places he went, where he liked to pick up lunch, what grocery store he went to, and so on. The second was a list of the places he went at night for relaxation. The third, a list of names. She’d made notations next to each name to indicate if they were people he associated with, or women she knew had slept with her brother.
I imagined Rand’s list would be three or four times as long as Nick’s.
“Of course, there are quite a few women whose names I’ve never known.” Mrs. Franks grimaced at me and raised her hands.
“Naturally.” I looked at the picture of Nick again. Oh my. He’d sure give Rand a run for his money. Had that same—aura—about him, too.
“I don’t think you realize this, but FandS is run by my brothers.” I peeled my eyes off Nick’s photo. “I just talked to Walt, and he assured me that FandS is looking for him.”
She nodded her head, her gaze unfocused. “I figured they might look for him. I’d still like to hire you to do the same.” Her expression cleared, and her jaw set in determination.
“I appreciate the business, but can I ask you why?”
“I’m not sure your brothers have the same interest in finding Nick that I do.” She twisted a strand of her honey-colored hair around her finger. “I’m not sure…” She looked at me bleakly.
“Mrs. Franks…” I encouraged her.
“Call me Sara.”
“Fine, Sara, whatever you say to me is confidential. I can guarantee that I won’t tell my brothers. You’re a little sister; imagine having five Nicks looking out for you.”
“I’ve thought a lot about it. Why did Nick miss work? He could be detained by someone he was investigating for FandS; then again, he could have found something that made him dangerous to FandS.”
I snorted. “I don’t think my brothers would kill him.”
“Maybe they’re only interested in getting whatever information Nick has, and don’t really care if Nick makes it home or not.”
I had to admit she might be right. Walt was going to be seriously pissed off at me when he found out I was working for Mrs. Franks. I just wondered how long I had before my brothers started interfering with my investigation.
“Walt said you let him and Dave into Nick’s apartment. I’d like to take a look there myself, but I’m going to have to be extremely careful so I don’t get caught by my brothers. Would it be all right if you gave me his key?”
Sara delved into her handbag and produced two keys for me.
We discussed my retainer, the fees I charged, and an estimate of how much the job might run her. I lowballed the numbers since my brothers were looking for Nick, too. Even at that, Rand and I stood to make a tidy sum off this job. She wrote a check for the retainer, and handed me a slip of paper that had both her address and phone numbers and Nick’s.
It was eleven-thirty when she left, and I decided to make myself a sandwich. No telling if Rand would make it back for his twelve-thirty appointment.
Jervis’s father Baxter was sitting on the edge of the kitchen counter when I entered the room.
“What’s up, Bax?” I dug the jar of peanut butter out of the cupboard.
“Jervis didn’t happen to show up here earlier, did he?” For a four-inch tall man, he looked tremendously imposing. His hair was golden like his son’s, but a couple of shades lighter. His chest was a ripped mass of muscle, his shoulders broad, his hips narrow. His skin shone with a fine coating of golden dust. Seems the stuff shed off their wings when they were flapping them, and tended to coat everything in their environment.
I caught myself checking out the package in the front of his pants. Man, did I need to get laid.
“Interesting question.” It was my standard response that meant, “I promised not to tell you, and I don’t want to lie to you.” Baxter knew me well enough not to press the issue.
“I’ve got some cousins traveling the pipe from Nebraska. I wanted to ask you, if they like it here, would you mind them carving out a home near my family’s?”
Traveling the pipe was a euphemism for a direct magic highway. Magic covered the globe, and all of the dimensions. It generally followed in curvy lines, rather like weather patterns. Amongst all these different “fronts”, there were direct “pipes” between anyplace and any other place. Hey, it’s magic. And if you had enough command of the stuff yourself, you could jump one of these pipes, and almost instantly travel to the link at the other end.
“Don’t see why not, so long as they’ll abide by the rules.” I spread jelly on a slice of bread, and slapped the sides of the sandwich together.
“Thanks.” Baxter flew up and planted a kiss on my cheek. “If I weren’t married…”
I laughed. Not because he was smaller then a grown man’s penis, but because I’d have taken him up on his offer. You do know they can—transform—into human dimensions. Baxter as a human male would knock my socks off. “You’re sweet to say so.”
Armed with my peanut butter and jelly, I returned to my desk, and looked over the sheet that Sara had given me, showing Nick’s favorite night spots. I looked them up in the phone book and marked three that were within walking distance of each other. Even though it was only Thursday, I’d make Rand take me to those places tonight.
The man himself strolled in a little past noon. He swung my visitor chair around and straddled it. “We’ve got the Kender and Task account.” He rested his chin on the back of the chair, a wave of his hair falling across his eyes.
“We’ve got a missing persons job too.” I leaned back in my chair and put my feet on the desk.
“Tell me about it.”
So I told him about Nick Demakis.
“I’d like you to take me bar hopping tonight. That might throw my brothers off.”
“I don’t know about that. I think your brothers would have maimed me a long time ago if they ever thought I was fooling around with you.”
I raised my eyebrow at him. When he just looked at me blankly, my mouth dropped open.
“Forgetting something?” The question coming out harsher then I intended.
“Asshole.” I kicked out of my chair and stomped off to the kitchen.
I was yanking drawers open, then slamming them closed, sure I’d come across the perfect implement to torture Rand with, when he came up behind me, wrapped his arms around my body, and trapped my arms to my sides. I went absolutely still as I felt the entire length of him settle against my back. He had an exquisitely hard body, and an energy that sizzled across my skin like electricity. He also sported a tremendous erection, proving my theory that he walked around with one all the time.
His lips brushed the side of my face. “Honey, I was pulling your leg. I could never forget.”
I relaxed against him, and he made a strange whooshing noise like his lungs had deflated.
“You can let me go. I’m not going to hurt you.” Not much anyway.
“I don’t trust you.” His hands wrapped around my forearms, holding tight while he stepped back from me. Then he let me go, and started running for the office area. I was hot on his heels, just about to tackle him, when the outside door opened and his twelve-thirty appointment walked in.
I pulled up short. “Oh.” I hadn’t meant to say that out loud, but the guy who had just walked in was a total fox.
He turned his stormy gaze my direction, and I stopped breathing.
“Connor Reilly.” His voice was deep and rich, and stroked across my body like a caress.
“T.J. Coventry.” I glided toward him, drawn by his magnetic pull.
“Rand McIntyre.” Rand stepped in front of me and stuck his hand out at Reilly.
Reilly took a moment to size him up, then shook his hand. I came up on Rand’s right side, and Reilly extended his hand to me. I grasped it, noticing how his dwarfed mine. His grip was firm, his palm rough from use, and radiated a heat that threatened to scorch me. The warmth was making its way to my groin when Rand elbowed me in the side and snapped me back to the present.
“If you’ll just come over here,” Rand told the man, shooting a look at me, and heading for his desk.
Reilly slid me a full body scan, the corner of his mouth turning up in a wicked grin. He nodded once, then followed my partner.
I watched the two men walk away and I would have been hard pressed to tell you which had the better ass. I think Rand had just met his match.
I was still ogling Reilly’s backside when I realized that Rand was watching me. I grinned at him sheepishly, and he grimaced. So I quickly dove into the paperwork on my desk, shuffling through it, pretending to be busy.
I glanced up again when Rand disappeared into the kitchen. Reilly stood, and sauntered over to where I sat, with a long, loose stride. He leaned his hip on the edge of my desk and looked down at me, a definite hunger flickering in his eyes. My heart skipped a beat.
“Would you be free for dinner Friday night?” he asked, staring directly into my eyes.
“I’ll have to check.” I was trapped in those deep gray depths until he cocked an eyebrow at me, and I realized I had yet to answer him.
Fumbling my PDA out of my purse, I thumbed it on, and punched over to Friday. I knew I was smiling like an idiot when I looked back up at him, but I couldn’t help myself.
“I’m free.” His eyes flicked to my mouth when I spoke, his pupils dilating.
His voice rasped when he spoke. “I’ll pick you up at seven.”
My nipples hardened, and moisture gathered between my legs. I licked lips that were suddenly dry. “Come to the back door here. I live above the office.”
His eyes followed the path of my tongue, and he shifted his legs. My gaze fell to his crotch, and the noticeable bulge pressing against the fabric there. I didn’t mean to, but I licked my lips again as I stared at the bulge.
Reilly choked back a groan.
Just then, the door to the kitchen opened, and Rand paused in the doorway. His eyes narrowed as he took in the scene at my desk.
“I’ll see you tomorrow night.” I told Reilly’s crotch, remembering at the last second to look up at his face. I felt my cheeks suffuse with blood.
Reilly grinned wickedly at me, winked, then turned back to Rand’s desk.
My partner nearly growled at the man when they resumed talking. Jesus. He confused the hell out of me sometimes. It’s not like he was interested in me himself.
Reilly stopped by my desk on his way out to get my phone number. Our fingers touched when I handed him the slip of paper, and a tingling sensation raced up my arm. His fingers tightened around mine, and he leaned closer. My breath caught in my throat.
He brushed his lips over mine, and whispered in my ear, “Until tomorrow night.” I wanted to pull him closer, press his lips harder against my mouth. We stared at each other for a long moment instead.
“Until tomorrow,” I agreed.
Then I swiveled my chair so I could watch Reilly as he left the building, all tight muscle and easy grace. I only turned away when I could no longer see him. Rand was standing inches away from me, a scowl on his face.
“What do you think you’re doing?” His voice was too low and controlled, and I knew he was seething.
“I’m going to check the appointment book and see what’s up next.”
“You know what I’m talking about.” He leaned over me, his anger radiating off of him in waves.
“What are you so worked up about?” I jumped up from my chair, nearly whacking him in the chin with my head. “The guy asked me out on a date. I accepted. What’s wrong with that?”
“You don’t know anything about the guy,” Rand hissed at me.
“So? Do you do a background check on every woman you jump in the sack with?” I yelled at him, my arms flapping.
“I don’t need to. I can take care of myself. That guy’s a predator, T.J., and he’s looking at you like you’re lunch.” Rand slammed his hand down on my desk.
I butted up against his chest, craned my head back to see his eyes, and lit into him.
“I’ll have you know I can take care of myself just fine.” I shoved against him. “So back off, Rand.”
He grabbed the back of my head in one of his big hands, tangling his fingers in my hair.
“You’re thinking about fucking him.” Rand’s eyes burned into mine.
“Your point being?” I was beginning to notice the way his body fit against me. The way the rigid length of his cock burned into the soft flesh of my stomach.
Suddenly his mouth was on mine. He consumed me with his lips, his tongue. Fire flared throughout my body, and I lost myself in the kiss. His free hand squeezed my ass, pulling me closer. He rocked his hips forward, rubbing his cock against me. I felt a flood of moisture at the juncture of my thighs.
“I don’t want other men touching you,” he gasped into my mouth.
“Rand.” I moaned when he moved his hand to my breast and gently squeezed. Then he brushed his thumb over my nipple, causing me to shudder.
“Tell me you won’t fuck him.” Rand nipped a trail along my jaw. Flicking his tongue over the small bites.
I sighed. “I can’t.”
Rand tensed. His lips stopped moving on my skin. “Why?”
I felt his chest expanding and contracting with his heightened breathing.
“I have needs, Rand.” I tried to put some space between us, but his grip on me was too tight.
“You seem to do all right.” Rand hadn’t moved his lips from my jaw.
“Not true.” I slumped in his embrace. “I’m slowly losing my mind with the want of it. You sure as hell don’t help matters by getting laid almost nightly. If I don’t find some steady sex soon, I think I might combust.”
Rand’s arms tightened further, nearly cutting off my oxygen. I squirmed.
“What am I going to do with you?” Rand brushed his lips down my neck.
“You’re going to go bar hopping with me tonight, and help me look for clues into Nick Demakis’s disappearance.”
The warmth of Rand’s breath washed over my neck as he sighed. He lifted his head and looked into my eyes. He looked defeated, and it cut right through my heart to see him look that way. I stroked my fingers through his hair and pulled him in for another kiss. I took his lips with a slow, lingering touch, then eased my way into his mouth with my tongue. I danced my tongue with his, savoring the unique taste that was Rand. It might have been years since we’d last kissed this way, but I will forever remember his taste.
We had been enjoying ourselves for several minutes, leisurely stroking our hands over each other, when someone cleared their throat behind us.
Rand kept me locked against him as he glanced over my head.
“Can I help you?” he asked in a totally professional tone.
“I have a two o’clock appointment. Name is Bestler.”
Rand nodded toward his desk. “If you’ll wait over there, I’ll be with you in just a moment.” He watched Mr. Bestler until the man was seated.
“We’ll talk about this later.” His voice was stern.
“I’ve got a surveillance to do. I should be back by six,” I told him, waiting for him to release me.
“Make sure you have your cell phone on, and charged.” His eyes searched mine, then he kissed me briefly and let me go.
I gathered up my equipment, stuffed it into a small duffel bag, and headed out of the office.
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